Pastor Tom Vandermeid
I’m Pastor Tom VanDerMeid and I have had the privilege of serving this congregation for over 25 years. I can say without reservation that this is a wonderful church family. They have loved me and my family with a strong love, always showing support, acceptance and encouragement. So, if you are looking for a church in West Hartford please look here! I have no doubt that you would be loved in the same way.
I grew up in Rochester, N.Y., spent a few years in California and then went to school in Chicago. That’s where I met my wife Mary and where I served in my first church, so Chicago is like a second home to us. Two of our three children live there and 5 of our 6 grandchildren. Our daughter and her son live here in West Hartford.
I struggled in college to know God’s will for my life. I considered counseling and social work but finally God led me into pastoral ministry. I served the Ravenswood Covenant Church in Chicago as an Associate Pastor with primary responsibilities in youth ministry. I loved working with High School kids. City kids can be a great challenge but also a great blessing. I served in Ravenswood for about 6 years.
My second church was in Springfield, Illinois where I served as a solo pastor. I pastored that church for about four years and then received a call to the West Hartford Covenant Church. I’m thankful that the Lord provided a place for me to serve and for us to raise our children without moving every few years. There is tremendous blessing in long ministry. You have the privilege of being involved in the significant events in people’s lives: baptism, confirmation, marriage, sickness, and death. Over time you truly become family to each other. Let me share a few special joys in my ministry. One of the high points for me was when I found the Alpha Course. It renewed my ministry in many ways. We saw lives changed through this course. People came to faith in Jesus, they grew in their faith, and some even joined our church. I love Alpha because God is working through this ministry.
Another high point has been our Prayer Room. We created this room to be exclusively a place of prayer. Individuals are invited to use it at any time and we do a prayer vigil once a year during Holy Week. We pray individually but because we put our requests and words of praise on the walls, everyone is praying for each other and together. The presence of God is very real in this holy space.
I have also been blessed in powerful ways through our mission trips to the Dominican Republic. We have been involved in numerous trips to La Romana in the Dominican Republic. We minister to Haitians who work in slave like conditions in the sugar cane fields. They live in extreme poverty. We are able to bring them medical help, food and clean water. We are also able to share with them the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ. It has been a life changing experience for me and those who have participated.
Recently I have been involved in a Prison Ministry. We teach the Alpha Course to inmates at the Carl Robinson facility in Enfield. This has been a ministry that has greatly enriched my soul. I’ve had the privilege of serving in some leadership roles in the East Coast Conference of the Covenant Church. I served on the Board of the Ministerial Association, the Committee on Ministerial Standing, and the Conference Board. I enjoyed each of those leadership positions and felt it was a responsibility and a privilege to serve God in the larger work of our conference.
I’m excited and energized as I look forward to the coming years. God is doing some wonderful things in our midst. We serve a God who makes all things new. How exciting is that!